Training New Athletes
Yesterday I had the honor and privilege of assisting with my hometown high school football strength and conditioning program. Ashe County High School in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina was the scene of me going back to my roots. I have wanted to influence my hometown team for years. Yesterday was the beginning of what I hope evolves into something awesome. I want my guys in the mountains to learn that reality is what they make of it. The seed is plated, and now it is time to nurture it.
I had a complex squat every day plan all ready for the athletes. It has been a long time since I have worked with athletes that weren’t five star football recruits or Junior World Team Members. It was a refreshing change going back to the basics. I left that weight room smiling ear to ear.
Here are the keys to training new athletes:
1. Stick to the Basics! Pick 2 or 3 exercises that are beneficial to the athletes that you are training and practice those exercises every session. We are going to focus on squats, bench press, and cleans. I was going to include overhead squats, but I have decided to introduce those after the athletes have mastered these three first.
The cleans will develop power production, posterior chain strength, speed, and movement. The squats will develop absolute strength, muscle mass, and mobility. The bench press will develop upper body absolute strength and muscle mass. These three exercises alone will make these athletes better than ever.
More is not better! You are much better off to perfect three than to introduce a bunch of exercises that the athlete will only get half right. When your body becomes more efficient at performing the exercises, it will recruit more fibers, get stronger, and become more powerful.
2. Technique trumps weight especially in the beginning! I refuse to have my athletes go heavier until their technique is at least proficient. I watch strength coaches make huge mistakes with adding a load before their athletes have learned the movement.
3. Motivate them! I love coaching. I love motivating athletes to be better than they ever thought they could. If you can’t motivate, you can’t coach. I don’t care who you are. I watch tons of brilliant strength coaches crying because no one will take them serious. It’s because they can’t motivate. Therefore no one will take them serious.
I am excited to help with these young athletes. I love watching athletes go from beginner to champion. I can’t wait to watch the athletes from my hometown develop a whole new mindset. They are going to learn that “limits” are what mediocre people set on their lives. Trust me, these athletes aren’t mediocre, and I am going to teach them that.